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THE BOOK -Harry Potter & The Chamber Of Secrets
by J.K. Rowling
Bk. #2 of Harry Potter
First published in 1998 by Bloomsbury
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Avg. Rating: 4/5 stars
EDITION I PURCHASED -Paperback, 341 pages
Published in 2013 by Scholastic
My Rating: 5/5 stars
THE PLOT -Harry's second year at Hogwarts is rife with fresh torments and horrors, including an outrageously stuck up new professor, Gilderoy Lockhart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls' bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley's younger sister, Ginny.
But these seem minor when the real trouble begins, and someone - or something - starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally revealed? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects... Harry Potter himself?
Ever since I was a child, this has always been my least favourite Harry Potter book, and yet I still cannot give a genuine answer as to why that is. Don't get me wrong, this entire series is easily 5 stars throughout, but there's always been something about this second installment that doesn't sit right with me. Nevertheless, Harry Potter & The Chamber Of Secrets is filled with mystery and suspense that keeps you guessing until the very end as you slowly unveil some of the secrets shrouding Lord Voldemort's past.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione return to Hogwarts for another year filled with magic and fraught with danger. All three characters have come a long way from what they were at the start of the first book. Harry's encounter with Voldemort at the end of his first year at Hogwarts strengthened him in ways we can't even imagine. Though only 12 years old, Harry's determination and bravery are unmatched and his development in this book is astonishing. No longer the child that was locked away in a cupboard for most of his life, Harry has fought to survive more times in the last two years than most people do in their entire lives.
Despite having a pretty serious subject matter, Rowling managed to inject plenty of humour into this novel that kept it from becoming too dark for the intended audience. Ron is the joker of the group, whether he realises it or not - after all, it's got to be pretty impossible to grow up with Fred and George and not have a sense of humour. His fear of spiders is adorable (and relatable - I'm terrified of the creepy critters), and his broken wand was the icing on the cake. I don't think Ron will be able to look at slugs in the same way again.
Hermione's development is one of the most prominent, in my opinion. She's transformed from being an insufferable know-it-all to a dependable know-it-all and she's only going to get more awesome from here on out. Her ability to keep a cool head in the most terrifying of situations is unmatched, making her a fantastic friend to have. To be perfectly honest, Hermione is my favourite character throughout this entire series.
Now, Gilderoy Lockhart is definitely the one and only Harry Potter character that I have ever truly disliked. I can't stand this guy, but I do think he was an interesting character in his own right. His obsession with himself is ridiculous, and if he had mentioned Witch Weekly's Most Charming Smile Award one more time, I would have tried to kill him, fictional or not. Definitely one of the most annoying characters in any book I've read.
The novel itself is filled with mystery and suspense right from the off - who is Dobby, the mysterious house-elf that is determined to keep Harry from returning to Hogwarts? What is the terrifying creature that is petrifying students? And what mysteries does the Chamber of Secrets hold? All of these questions are answered, and the journey of discovery is fraught with danger.